Reflections on a College Mapathon


I recently hosted a Mapathon for a group of volunteers at City and Islington College to help to map areas in rural Tanzania, where girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation and need to get to a safe house. Staff Digital Leaders, Student Digital Ambassadors, the Digital Learning Team and a handful of Geography A Level students attended the event.


The event took place on International Volunteers Day organised as part of the Student Digital Ambassador Programme. Part of this programme involves attending events to build our digital skills and to learn about innovative projects outside of the College. Participants learnt about the background to the project, set up Open Street Map accounts and then learnt how to map unmapped areas. Open Street Map is an open source map – “like a wikipedia for maps”. Volunteers trace roads and buildings by zooming in from satellite images.


I came across Tanzania Development Trust’s Crowd2Map project when attending a TechforGood event on International Women’s Day in 2017 and a few months ago, I met Janet Chapman, the Co-Founder, through 28TooMany, a charity which supports activists in campaigning to end Female Genital Mutilation in the countries in Africa and across the diaspora worldwide where it still takes place.

Crowd2Map Tanzania are building a global network to unite people from across the world to help map areas where girls are at risk of FGM so that activists can better protect them. Anyone with an internet connection can get involved, from anywhere in the world! If you would like to get involved, see here.

We found the event very moving and inspiring. Techforgood has great potential as anyone can use their digital skills to help make a difference!


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